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Jodie Harwick‘s list of brilliant self improvement books that will help many of us to navigate our lives’ challenges. At the very least to realise that we are not alone with our struggles. We agree with her; every woman should read these. Highly recommended for men too.

Work Like a Woman, Mary Portas

You may remember Mary from ‘Mary, Queen of Shops’ on TV. Now Portas has written a book on being successful in the workplace as a woman. This is a refreshing take on the ‘women in workplace’ genre. She doesn’t whine or make excuses, nor does she patronise or talk down to the reader. The book is witty, fast moving and powerful. It will make you angry in places. However at its heart it’s about how we can lead the change as women in the workplace. We can call out dysfunctional office norms that are no longer fit for purpose. Leading the charge for successful businesswomen everywhere. 

It Starts With Me: An Anthology Of The Magic That Happens When Women Reclaim Their Strength & Their Stories, Dani Wallace and Nicki James

This one isn’t so much a self-help book as it is an anthology. The book includes the stories of twenty women, and focuses on their very different journeys to success. It’s about more than just being successful; it’s also about overcoming adversity and walking your own path. The book looks set to a be a huge success. Within hours it had already climbed up the Amazon book chart, with praise coming in from all directions. The anthology is a wonderful collection of inspiring stories, highlighting how simple choices can help you to overcome adversity. An inspiring and uplifting read. 

From Victim to Victor: Narcissism Survival Guide, Dr Mariette Jansen

Written by a psychotherapist, From Victim to Victor centres around Dr Janson’s honest portrayal of life with her own mother. She uses her as a way to depict narcissism as a character trait. She also explains what it looks like in other types of relationships. You’ll see explanations for what causes it from a psychological standpoint. As well as how to escape or deal with the effects of living with a narcissist.

Often when they’re written by accomplished psychotherapists, books like this can veer into being a little heavy on the science talk. This isn’t like that. She doesn’t patronise her reader, but talks to you, human to human. She gives real life examples to back up her advice, often referring to her own experiences in a brutally honest way. 

The Source, Dr Tara Swart

The basis of The Source by Dr Tara Swart is that your brain is the source of your happiness, success and achievements. If you think of it in this way, the author says, you can train your brain how to identify and act upon opportunities in a way that could lead to improving your life. The book is written in a warm and personal way, you almost feel as if she’s talking to you as a friend about her life and experiences. As a neuroscientist, Swarm’s advice is based on science. It doesn’t feel wishy-washy, and the points she makes all make total sense. The book has a good mixture of the spiritual and scientific: talking about how our brains can actually lead us into ‘manifesting’ our success. It’s ideas like this that makes the book intriguing and hard to put down. The only thing that may get on your nerves is that sometimes it comes across a little too much like a sales pitch. If you can get over that you’ll find it an enjoyable read that leaves you feeling ready to take on the world. 


Hope with OCD: A Guide to Love and Addiction, Lynn Crilly

In this book, Lynn Crilly explores how the experience of her own family- her daughter’s anorexia- helped her to learn about OCD and the ways in which to deal with it. Because her interest started off the back of her child’s illness, the book is strikingly personal. For anyone who has suffered, or known sufferers, with OCD or OCD related illnesses, this feels like a hug from a friend. Rather than constantly referring to studies or over-examining every action, she talks about real people. Her insight on how understanding and dealing with wider issues will lead you to help those you love in the real world. 

The Whole Brain Child, Dr Tina Payne Bryson and Dr Daniel Siegel

For anyone with children, of any age, The Whole Brain Child offers a refreshing take on modern parenting. Focussing on what makes a child’s brain work. By parenting in a way that nurtures your child’s ‘whole brain’ you can help understand what shapes their personalities and improves their behaviour. This is a really interesting and clear take on the parenting self-help genre. It offers a good mix of real-life examples with scientific reasoning, and talks to parents in a sympathetic, honest way that doesn’t make you guilty but does help you to understand your child’s needs. 

How to Listen: Katie Columbus

How to Listen isn’t so much about helping yourself as it is helping others. Written the real-life examples of trained Samaritans. How to Listen talks about encouraging others to open up, knowing what to say and what not to say. It teaches techniques for helping others through difficult situations. This book is so full of empathy, filled with helpful, simple ways to become a better listener. Everyone should read this book, it’s both insightful and practical. It leaves you wondering how much better the world would be if we were all better at listening to those around us. 

Jog On, Bella Mackie

If you’ve ever followed Bella Mackie on social media, you’ll know her to be the straight-talking, no-nonsense wife of Radio One DJ Greg James. Speaking candidly about her real life experiences with anxiety, Mackie talks about using fitness as a tool to deal with depression. Whether you’re an avid runner or not, the book is full of helpful tips and is a no-holds-barred take on a keep-fit journal. At times funny, and others tragic, Mackie writes unfiltered about motivating yourself out of anxiety, and backs up her experience with advice from doctors, psychologists and professional athletes. If you want to laugh and cry whilst getting your life on track with someone who knows a little what you’re going through: this is the book for you. 

Speak Your Truth, Fearne Cotton: Connecting with your inner truth and learning to find your voice

Fearne dives into how we learn to stay quiet for the wrong reasons, and explores how to find your voice, assert yourself and speak out with confidence. The idea came when she was at risk of needing a throat operation followed by two weeks of being unable to speak. It made her consider the times her voice had gone unheard and ignored as a young woman. A good reminder of the powerful word ‘no’ and respecting ourselves.

30 Days to Financial Excellence: Learn to Master Your Money Like a Personal Finance Pro, Inge Natalie Hol

If, like most have the UK, have been indulging in a little pandemic overspending, this may be the book for you. The title speaks for itself, it’s all about simple, effective ways to take control of your finances. Using step-by-step instructions and general advice for becoming free from debt, getting better at saving, and cutting down on what you don’t need. It’s direct and to-the-point, but at the same time friendly and non-judgemental. It’s really noticeable how concise and practical it is. From the start the author uses bullet points and very easy to understand paragraphs that aren’t littered with jargon. If you’re ready to take hold of your finances in an achievable way, this book is a great way to approach it. 

For more inspiration on what to read see what https://www.goodreads.com

You might also enjoy reading https://darlingmagazine.co.uk/love-local/eatwright-stops-you-from-going-on-diets/

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